What Is an Adverb in English Grammar?
An adverb is a part of speech primarily used to alter a verb, adjective, or additional adverbs and can modify prepositional phrases, subordinate clauses, and complete sentences. Adverbs are content words that provide info about how, when, or where something happens. Adverbs are also called intensifiers because they strengthen the meaning of the word or words they are modifying, notes
An adverb that alters an adjective—as in quite sad—or another adverb—as in very carelessly—appears in front of the word it alters, but one that alters a verb is more flexible: It can appear before or after the start of the sentence—Softly she sang to the baby—with the location of an adverb affecting the meaning of the sentence. Adverbs can alter a verb or adjective by providing emphasis, manner, time, place, and frequency information.
Adverbs of Emphasis
Adverbs of emphasis are employed to give added force or a better degree of confidence to another word in a sentence or to the sentence as a whole, for instance:
- He certainly liked the food.
- She is clearly the frontrunner.
- Naturally, I like my chicken crispy.
Adverbs of Manner
Adverbs of manner signify how something is done. They are placed at the end of a sentence or prior to the main verb, as in:
- Tom drives quickly.
- She slowly opened the door.
- Mary waited for him patiently.
Adverbs of Time
Adverbs of time inform you when or at what time something is doneThe meeting is next week.
- Yesterday, we decided to take a walk.
- I’ve already bought my tickets for the concert.
Adverbs of Place
Adverbs of place suggest where something is done and usually appear at the end of a sentence.
- I decided to have a rest over there.
- She’ll wait for you in the room downstairs.
- Peter strolled above me upstairs.
Adverbs of Frequency
Adverbs of frequency inform you how often something is done. They are usually, sometimes, never, often, and rarely. Adverbs of frequency are often placed before the main verb:
- She rarely goes to parties.
- I often read a newspaper.
- He usually gets up at 6 o’clock.
- Sometimes, I enjoy staying at home as an alternative to going on vacation.
- Often, Peter will call his mother before he leaves for work.
Adverbs Modifying Adjectives
When adverbs alter an adjective, they are placed prior to the adjective:
- She is extremely happy.
- They are absolutely sure.